International Friendly Preview: Republic Of Ireland - Argentina
World Cup quarter-finalists pay visit to new stadium...
By Peter Staunton
Kick-off: Wednesday 11 August 20:45 CET,
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Keane To Impress
Some of the build-up to this interesting tie has been centred around the ill-health of Giovanni Trapattoni, the Ireland trainer who has been hospitalised with severe food poisoning.
However, the Argentina clash represents a landmark for one of Ireland's greatest ever servants.
Robbie Keane will lead the Republic of Ireland out for the first time at the new Aviva Stadium in Dublin tonight and the occasion will mark the 100th cap for the Irish skipper.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker will be accompanied by his 15-month old son, Robbie Jr, for the pre-match pleasantries, but then it will be down to the serious business.
The Irish squad under Trapattoni does not take friendly fixtures lightly, and indeed were it not for injuries to certain starters, the Boys in Green would line out for this pre-season tune-up with the same side that competed gallantly against France in the World Cup play-offs in November.
The Irish insistence to place equal emphasis on every outing has yielded a definitive 'system', with which Trapattoni is happy, and no more is the desire typified than in the skipper.
Keane takes his leadership duties seriously and is a good bet to end his career as the nation's all-time top scorer and record caps holder. He has rarely pulled out of friendly matches, sometimes to the chagrin of his club managers.
The 30-year-old's form for Tottenham ahead of the Premier League season has been sound, although his club future seems to be, as yet, unresolved. It is one of the great anomalies of the game that Keane has been so consistent and settled at international level but remains somewhat flighty in his club career.
He could be on the move again this summer, to his eighth club, but you should not expect that sort of disruption to affect his number one love.
A Fresh Start
Sergio Batista may only have been yielded temporary control of the Argentina team but the Olympic coach has already attempted to engineer a subtle overhaul of the Albiceleste team that Diego Maradona took to the World Cup and promised a 'brand new era' for Argentinian football. Consequently, Fernando Gago and Ever Banega, two South Africa absentees have been handed chances to impress tonight.
The 1986 World Cup winner admits that it is futile to go over old ground after a disappointing World Cup exit. He told the press in Dublin: “I don't want to look back, I am here to look forward. We’re starting a brand new era. Up to now the lads have made it very easy for me. It’s a new start. They’ve all come here to play for the shirt and to do well.”
It is a testing time for any manager but even more so considering the stature of the man Batista has replaced.
The exit of el Dieguito has been met with mixed reactions. Carlos Tevez accused the AFA president Julio Grondona of 'betrayal' over the affair and intends to speak with him face to face. However, the Manchester City forward, out of the game with a sore throat, admits that his team-mates will rally around the new coach and play for the shirt.
Lionel Messi is expected to take part after a whistle-stop Asian tour; at one press conference in Korea, the Barcelona forward even lost track of which country he was visiting. And the redoubtable attacker's positivity has been praised by his new international coach. Batista said: “I am happy that he [Messi] arrived here with a positive attitude. He arrived with a smile on his face and considering he’s come from halfway around the world, from Beijing via Barcelona, it would have been easy for Lionel to say ‘I can’t be bothered. It’s an awkward time.’ That says a lot about his character.”
Republic of Ireland
It is perhaps a surprise that Paul Green has been included at the expense of Darron Gibson in the enforced absence of Glenn Whelan but Marco Tardelli has assured that the Manchester United midfielder will feature at some stage. A late injury to Liam Lawrence will hand Keith Fahey, of Birmingham City, a starting berth. Kevin Doyle may yet be replaced by Cillian Sheridan.
Starting XI: Given; McShane, Dunne, O'Shea, Kilbane; Andrews, Green, Fahey, Duff; Keane, Doyle
The manager has included some new blood in the ranks and will line up with a 4-1-4-1 system, according to reports. Gago and Banega will be fielded alongside Javier Mascherano in the centre of the pitch. Elsewhere, Tevez and Sergio 'Kun' Aguero miss out due to illness. Gonzalo Higuain retains the number nine shirt.
Starting XI: Romero; Burdisso, Demichelis, Samuel, Heinze; Mascherano; Gago, Banega, Messi, Di Maria; Higuain
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Top 3 Predictions
Ireland 0-2 Argentina
- 15.14 %
Ireland 0-3 Argentina
- 13.78 %
Ireland 1-3 Argentina
- 13.78 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Aug 11, 2010||Ireland 0 - Argentina 1|
|Mar 5, 2014||Ireland 1 - Serbia 2||FR|
|Nov 19, 2013||Poland 0 - Ireland 0||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||Ireland 3 - Latvia 0||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Ireland 3 - Kazakhstan 1||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||Germany 3 - Ireland 0||WCQ|
|7||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
It will 100 caps for Robbie Keane tonight and the Spurs forward has an impressive 43 goals to his name too. This game will provide Irish fans a chance to pay homage to the striker who has scored some vital strikes for his nation.
Irish fans will be offered an close-up glimpse of, arguably, the best footballer since Maradona. After a gruelling season for Barcelona, a World Cup campaign that ran deep and a hectic pre-season that took him to the four corners of the globe, perhaps 'el Messias' will feature as no more than a cameo tonight.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed